We are always on the hunt for the best beaches on each island. Therefore, it came as no surprise that we ended up on Sandy Point Beach, part of the Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge in St. Croix.
Sandy Point Beach is a three mile long beautiful powdery soft sand beach at the southwest end of St. Croix, just south of Fredriksted. It’s the largest beach in the USVI, but probably one of the least crowded. Sandy Point was the beach featured in the movie “Shawshank Redemption” when Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins reunited on the beach, supposedly in “Zihuatanejo”. Well, that’s one of our favorite flicks, so that little tidbit made us even more interested in checking it out. And, of course, we rented the movie again when we got home to see how Sandy Point looked in the film. Beautiful, of course.
From the main road, it is a bit of a drive into the beach, but it appeared they were improving the road when we visited and it wasn’t as bumpy as we had read. There are a few small parking areas and then a short hike to the beach. Immediately you are stunned by the beauty of this area.
Endangered green sea and leatherback turtles that lay their eggs on the Sandy Point Beach are protected by the National Wildlife Refuge. The park is only open on weekends from 10:00am – 4:00pm and is closed completely to the general public during laying and hatching season from April to August. I read that a visit might be arranged during hatching season by contacting the Wildlife Refuge ahead of time.
The beach doesn’t offer any shade or concessions and is not the best in St. Croix for snorkeling because the bottom is too sandy (what a problem!), but is a must see if you appreciate turquoise blue Caribbean water, soft powdery sand, fantastic photo opportunities and very few people. There were quite a few brown pelicans dive bombing for fish and we spent several hours watching them, walking the beach and floating in the crystal blue water.
The water is shallow at the shore, but seemed to drop off fairly quickly, at least in the area we swam, but the surf was not rough and we enjoyed spending time in the water. The sand was very soft in the areas close to the water and just a little more coarse the farther you got from shore.
If you’re lucky enough to be in St. Croix when Sandy Beach is open, I’d highly recommend a visit. Bring a cooler, a beach towel, plenty of sunscreen and an extra memory card for your camera. You’ll need it.
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